We spend at least eight hours of our work week with our colleagues, so who you interact with can make a significant impact on your career and also financial success.
For one, a lot of us are not aware of how our colleagues affect our spending habits. If you do not have a good control over that, your finances may suffer over time.
Here's how your colleagues can cause you to spend more every day
1. "JIO"-ING YOU FOR BUBBLE TEAS, MCDONALD'S BREAKFAST DELIVERY, AND THE LIKE
Do you have a colleague who is always gathering orders for breakfast delivery or bubble tea?
It's easy to get tempted, and while getting yourself breakfast or a drink isn't a crime, it doesn't help you save on unnecessary spending. That's especially so if you already had your breakfast and your pantry is stocked with tea and coffee.
Be aware of these additional costs and reduce frequent needless spending.
2. COLLECTING MONEY BECAUSE IT'S SOMEONE'S BIRTHDAY…AGAIN
There's always that nice colleague who wants to make everyone's birthday a little bit more special. The intentions are good but it also puts you under the pressure to contribute to every colleague's birthday present.
No one wants to appear stingy but if you don't know that particular colleague very well, maybe it's time to skip your turn.
3. NOT PAYING FOR THEIR DRINKS DURING LUNCH
Someone once shared with me that when she goes for lunch with her colleagues, they would all order drinks. But when the drinks uncle comes over to collect money, they would all put their heads down and pretend to be busy with their meal. Mind you, they are all in higher positions than her.
Yes, there are such people around! While they are definitely a rare breed, there are some colleagues who just do not take initiative to pay you back the smaller amounts. A dollar here and there can add up to hundreds of dollars over months.
If you don't like to be chasing people for money, one way is to get them to pay for you the next time you dine together.
4. "ARROW"-ING YOU TO DRIVE OUT FOR LUNCH
I have some friends who hesitate to drive to work because they are the only one in their team who does. Being the only one with a car may mean colleagues asking you sweetly to drive out to lunch. But who's paying for the carpark charges and fuel?
Unless you are the one who wants to go farther away for lunch, acceding to your colleagues' requests can cost you as much as a thousand dollars more a year.
5. CHOOSING TO EAT AT RESTAURANTS INSTEAD OF HAWKER CENTRES OR COFFEE SHOPS
You don't want to eat alone but what if your colleagues are eating at expensive cafes every day? A S$20 meal at a cafe is more than twice of many other alternatives. That's at least S$2,400 more a year. Plus, eating at cafes can tempt everyone into ordering a coffee or dessert.
Arm yourself with a list of recommended hawker stalls and get your colleagues to try them out. If that fails, consider joining them only a few times a week and make use of credit card discounts, cashback and rewards.
6. ASKING YOU OUT TOO OFTEN FOR AFTER WORK DRINKS
By now, you should know that being able to say "no" sometimes is very important in protecting your financial health. The same applies for after work drinks. Even during Happy Hours, the money you spend on an evening of drinks can be better used elsewhere.
7. INVITING YOU TO THEIR WEDDING
Getting an invite to a wedding is an honour and being able to celebrate with the couple should be a joyous affair.
But there's still a huge pressure in Singapore to help the bride and groom cover the cost of the wedding banquet. So, attending a wedding can set you back by a few hundred dollars. While your colleague may be obligated to invite everyone in the office, if you are not that close to him/her and like me, do not enjoy wedding dinners, you may want to reconsider accepting it.
This article was first published in BankBazaar.sg